Originated in formal capital city Hue, Vietnam, is known for their spicy flare. In the states and most parts of the world, it is usually overshadowed by the more popular pho. However, this broth has an incredible balance between spicy and sour, salty and sweet flavors. This dynamic blend of flavors are created from simmering beef shank and bones, pork feet, and lemon grass. Overtime, new additions such as shrimp sauce, congealed pigs blood, pork paste were added to the soup. Garnishes may include, sliced onions, cilantro, lime wedges, chili oil, banana blossoms or red cabbage, and mint. Compared to pho, the rice noodles are thicker, slippy and cylindrical. When everything is combined together, it creates a dish that has an intoxicating fragrant aroma.
Ingredients (serves 8-10)
Beef Bone (neck or bones with meat) 2-3 lb
Pigs feet (1 lb)
Beef Shank (1 lb)
Lemon grass (12 stalks)
Fish sauce (1/4 cup)
Fermented shrimp paste (3 tbs)
Pineapple (4 rings from can)
Paprika (2 tbs)
Yellow onion (1)
Bun Bo Hue paste (4 tbs)
HOT CHILI OIL
Annato seeds (1 tbs)
Vegetable oil (3 tbs)
Garlic cloves (8)
Green onions (chopped)
Purple Cabbage (sliced)
White onion (sliced)
The meats! Pork feet (cut up with bone exposed for maximum flavor) and oxtail for the broth base, and beef shank for the meat. All obtainable at an Asian market.
Parboil all the bones/meats just to rid the impurities. 2 minutes of boiling time is fine. Then dump it all out and clean each individual bone part with water, along with the pot.
While you are waiting for the parboil, you can start chopping the lemon grass. We will be using just the stem/meaty parts. Make sure you smash the base of the lemon grass to release the flavor.
Lemon grass is ready, get about 4 rings of pineapple from the can, peel then cut the onion in 4, and prepare the bun bo hue flavor paste.
Place the bones and meat into a fresh vat of boiling water (about 12 cups), and start putting in the ingredients! Lemon grass, onion (chopped in 4), 4 tbs bun bo hue paste, and 4 rings of pineapple,
It should look similar to this, start light boiling for at least 4 hours with lid covered.
HOT CHILI OIL
The hot chili oil will add some spicy flavor and color to the soup once it is done boiling, but you can start to prepare it now.
Peel 2 shallots and mince them. Also take about 8 garlic cloves, peel and mince as well.
Add 3 tbs vegetable oil to a pan and put on low heat. Drop in 1 tbs annato seeds into the oil and simmer to let the red color seep out for a few minutes. Make sure they don't get burnt by keeping it low heat. After a few minutes, remove all the seeds with a spoon, keeping most of the red oil in the pan. Turn up the heat a bit more and drop in the minced shallots and garlic. Let it sizzle for a few minutes, and then turn off the heat. This will be put into the main broth when it is ready.
After boiling for 4 hours, turn off the heat and remove the beef shank with some tongs.
Important step, let the beef shank cool off for at least an hour so you can cut through it without it breaking apart. Slice with the grain into bite size pieces.
Place the beef shank pieces in a tupperware, and all the oxtail in a separate tupperware. These will be used back when preparing to eat.
Time to filter out all the bones and broth ingredients. Place a clean pot in the sink with a strainer on top. You'll have to just pour all the contents into the strainer, trying to make sure all the broth goes directly into the pot and not splashing all over your counter tops and floors.
Broth should already look a little brownish and smell fantastic. However, you can add a bit of fish sauce and shrimp paste to your liking. Make sure you add a little at a time and taste! You can add your hot chili oil to the broth at this time, or just a spoonful to the individual bowls when you eat.
Purple cabbage is great for added color and veggies to your soup. I typically cut the very tips and stem of the cabbage, slice in half, and just cut it into small strips. I then soak the cabbage in water for a few hours to soften them up a bit, then store in a plastic bag in the fridge until I need it.
Plate out some sliced lime wedges, green onions, basil leaves, mint leaves, red or white sliced onions, and purple cabbage. I make a whole bunch so I can just seran wrap afterwards and re-use it when eating another bowl. Of course, wash everything thoroughly.
These Bun Bo Hue rice noodles take quite a bit of time to cook, upwards to 15 minutes. Make sure you read the package instructions and follow them. The noodles should be slippery and soft.